Deepa Govindarajan Driver (University of Reading)


Election address

Lecturer in Governance, Regulation and Risk, University of Reading

UCU member since Sep 2010

Chair, USS National Dispute Committee (NDC)

Branch Pensions Officer

USSbriefs member

UCU Left


FE and HE are run in ways that ignore the fundamental values many of us cherish. Marketisation, casualisation and financialisation have eroded education. They have brutally undermined our physical and mental well-being, hollowed out our institutions, and incrementally and stealthily impoverished our students, staff and communities in different ways. I stand committed to amplifying our union's efforts to curb these menaces.

As a long-standing UCU member, drawn into national activism by the pensions strike, I request your vote for NEC because I understand, and seek to represent, the anger, determination and aspirations of many within this Union.

I'm a founding member of USSbriefs, the guerrilla think-tank born out of the strike, committed to critically engaging with issues of importance to university staff and students, and to providing valuable analysis to underpin action. I see myself as a resurgent rank and file member of the Left community and am prepared to take meaningful action to deliver a fairer society 'for the many not the few'.

As branch pensions officer and as recently-elected Chair of the USS NDC, I have substantive grassroots and national experience. I aspire to be trustworthy, open, knowledgeable, and member-focussed.  As a former financial regulator, and having worked in financial services, I bring skills and insights that will be valuable for deliberations of the NEC.

I am a working mother, a disabled, minority-ethnic candidate and have previously been employed on casualised contracts. My background and experiences allow me to engage credibly with the issues plaguing our institutions, and to provide informed arguments in support of members' interests.

If elected to NEC, I am particularly motivated to encourage employers and UCU to advance improvements to workload, pay, casualisation, working conditions and pensions. I want to see reduced bureaucracy, greater transparency and genuine accountability both within our institutions and in our union.

The strike reminded us that although we, in academia, are not used to raising our voices, our struggle must go beyond sharpening our arguments. With our zeal, our collective intelligence and experience, and the right values, we can reclaim our universities and colleges. We can make them institutions whose worth is judged not by rigged rankings, league tables or financial returns to the few, but by our contributions to education and how this in turn shapes our community.

To do so, we need a motivated and credible union ecosystem. So, I hope you will grant me the privilege of representing you.

I stand alongside USSbriefs colleagues Jo Grady, Nicky Hardy and Jayajohn John and UCU Left candidates.

Last updated: 1 February 2019